Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ode to Caffeine

I had an amazing vacation week with the bf! I just got back this afternoon and have to give a presentation tomorrow, so the real update will have to wait, but I just looked in my fridge and was amused to discover that it looked like a Coke Zero ad--a 2 liter, a 20 ounce (actually 50 cl since I'm in Europe) and a can (33 cl).

I should probably just sleep more instead :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The bf is coming!

I am so excited. I'm heading to Barcelona later today to meet him at the airport and then it's vacation time! I'll be back in a week.

In other news, I have had a plant for more than two weeks and it's not dead yet. Maybe because I didn't name this one? Maybe because it's one of those nearly indestructible desk plants? I don't know, but it's working.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A weekend in La Rochelle

La Rochelle is gorgeous! I spent this past weekend there visiting a friend and meeting her awesome husband and seven and four year old sons. It is right in the middle of France's Atlantic coast (a 7 hour train ride from Montpellier). The city has a southwestern orientation and is well protected by a barrier island, so the ocean is calm, which makes it perfect for going out in the boat! I had no idea there was going to be a boat, and I was ecstatic.

 I arrived Friday afternoon and my friend showed me around the cute old town with a great waterfront area full of bars and restaurants looking out on the harbor right in town, which is guarded by cool old castley-looking two towers. Then we went out and had a picnic on the boat and watched the sunset. Ahhhhh. Oh, and I discovered I like pâté . Haha yes, pâté sandwiches. I am so fake-French :)

Saturday morning we headed out to the barrier island, Île de Ré, apparently a popular vacation/tourist spot. My companions were worried because the island is a favorite of the dreaded Parisians, whose school vacations had just started. We somehow got lucky though, and the island was not crowded at all! We had a nice day. Hot! 90F/30C in early April... But yes, a picnic on the beach, a walk around La Flotte, the main town on the island which is very cute with its white houses and the required blue, green, or grey shutters, some ice cream, a beer in the center, and a boat ride back to the mainland. There's a bridge, but we wouldn't all fit in the car (my friend's sister and four year old came along for the day) so some of us took the boat. On the way, my friend's husband, an avid diver, decided it was time to have the first dive of the year. In 59F/15C water. He had a wetsuit, but that's still cold. And oh wait, what's that? He brought along a wetsuit for me? Sneaky. Never one to disappoint, I took the challenge and also went for a swim. And yes, it was cold. But it was fun. So nice to be in, by, and on the water again!

Saturday night was also great. My friend got a babysitter and we went into town, got a table at a famous restaurant, and stuffed ourselves on amazing local seafood including 3-4 varieties of snail that required all kinds of eating strategy, including such tools as a fork and a pin. I was warned that one type has no taste and so has to be covered in mayonnaise to be eaten. I don't think even French people get why they eat snails...After dinner it was time for a few drinks and then home. On Sunday, I unfortunately had to leave at noon to make my epic train journey home, but after the seafood extravaganza the night before, none of us were moving too fast or early. I enjoyed watching French cartoons with the kids before the parents got up!

So I don't know if this was just something I had missed, but La Rochelle is famous, and deservedly so. If you get a chance, check it out!